Sunday, January 12, 2014

Max = 12 Months!

Okay, just kidding . . . Max is NOW almost 14 months!
But I never posted my 12th and final monthly Max update and laundry basket photos!

So . . . it might be almost two months late, but better late than never!

Oh - and as you can tell by the photos (or lack of photos) . . . it's gotten A LOT harder to take pictures of this little dude lately.
He doesn't stop moving.
Particulary when you WANT him to stop moving.

That is the ONLY decent photo of him looking at the camera with the chalkboard in the background.  
Gone are the days of "propping" him next to the prop!  HA!

And here is the official ONE YEAR chalkboard.  
It's amazing (now that I'm writing this two months late) to realize how much he's changed SINCE turing one year.  
Mostly in the area of walking.  
Since I snapped that picture, he has pretty much gone into fast-forward . . . and I mean that, literally.  
No more 1-2 steps.  There's no losing him, now. . . he's right on my heels!

And he's recently gone from "Mr. Max" to "MONSTER Max".  
This child gets into EVERYTHING, has NO fear, and is as stubborn as the day is long.  
He's still incredibly sweet and adorable and easy-going . . . but little man has a definite mind of his own -- and a temper.  

We have already mastered the art of fit-throwing.  
Something I had previously never experienced (with Lucy, I mean).  

Take (read: rip, tear, or wrestle) something out of his hands, and he promptly throws himself on the ground and cries . . . LOUDLY.  With GUSTO.  
For about 20 seconds.  
Then he moves on.  

Thank goodness it's short-lived . . . for now.  
I fear age two already. 

Chewing on the fingers.

And . . . then there's the laundry basket photo.
Yeah, not so much.
Totally UN-impressed with me putting him in a laundry basket and expecting him to STAY there.  
It's a miracle I actually got a picture snapped before he stood up and tipped the whole thing over, trying to climb out.  
I snapped TWO even!

He wasn't any happier then. : )~

But it had to be done.  
After all, that was the whole point of this when I started it a whole YEAR ago.  
I remember placing my precious 1-month-old baby boy in that basket the first time, thinking how fun it would be to see how much he'd grow throughout the year.

I wasn't thinking then about how it would twist my stomach into knots, too.  Or break my heart into a million pieces, looking back at how much -- and how fast -- he grew.  

Hence, ONE of the reasons (and probably the biggest) for why it's taken me almost two months to post this.  
I couldn't stand to look at the finished product!

I think I need therapy.  

Most people don't get this emotional about their babies, do they??  
Or maybe ya'll are just good at hiding it.  

But without further ado, here it is . . .

All I can think about is this:

The waiting . . . and waiting . . . and tears . . . and doctors . . . and waiting . . . and praying . . . and waiting . . . and giving up, almost.  

And now I have this wonderful, perfect, little man.  

Who loves to show off his bare belly . . . and loves to ride his cow . . . and loves to laugh and be laughed at.
My future cowboy, maybe? 

I don't know.  
God knows.  
Yes.  He does.  

Just like He knew all along that a year ago would be the PERFECT time for this boy to join our family.  
The best lesson in FAITH I've ever received.  
And sooooooooo worth the wait.  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Little Pony/Down on the Farm Birthday Party!

I have the big double birthday bash to share with you!

My kiddos' birthdays are exactly three weeks apart.
I reallllly didn't want to have to throw two parties in three weeks, so I began trying to figure out a way to incorporate Lucy's infatuation with My Little Pony, with a little boy's first birthday!

The answer was My Little Pony, Down on the Farm!
I found these invitations on Etsy shop TweetPrints ...
…and I decided it was meant to be!
(After I just about fell over out of disbelief that such a thing existed! -- This was JUST what I had pictured!)

The party turned out great! (for an overwhelmed, working mom who had been dealing with a croupy baby all week, and was about ready to fall over from lack of sleep!)

Here's the birthday girl at the cake table . . .

This cake was SO STINKIN' AMAZING.
And no, I did not make it.
But fortunately, we have a VERY talented niece who makes cakes like this (you have seen them here before for Lucy's previous birthdays: )~
She did such an awesome job!
This was Lucy's dream cake, for sure!
And even though it was covered in My Little Ponies, it's still not too girly for Max. ;-)

The cupcakes were equally adorable!

I wrote a cute birthday message on my trusty old-window-turned-chalkboard, and made a simple banner out of rainbow colored card stock, die cut letters, and ribbon.  
(Rainbow Dash is Lucy's VERY FAVORITE My Little Pony, hence the rainbow color scheme. ;-)

I also made a super-cute torn fabric banner, which I LOVE!
Such an easy project, but SOOOOOO CUTE and whimsical! :-)

Here's the menu board . . .
I didn't do a very good job of taking pics of the food (because I was busy taking it out of the oven, setting it all up, and getting people to eat it!), but each of the things listed on the menu board had a little rainbow label like the one below, in front of "Farmer Max's Vegetable Garden".

Applejack is another of Lucy's favorite ponies, so I had a big bowl of apple slices with caramel and peanut butter dippers for the kids . . . and applesauce pouches for the itty-bitties. ;-)

For the FUN part of the party, I made a red barn beanbag toss.
I'll do a little DIY post on this in the near future (I hope), but it was simple to do, and the kids loved it! (And of course, we will have this to enjoy for years to come, as well!)

And for the little princess ponies at the party . . .
Hoof painting!
Lucy even painted great-grandma's "hooves" . . . :-)

Each of the cowgirls and cowboys got a colorful bandana when they arrived.
And each kiddo also got a rainbow-colored goody bag to take home at the end of the party. :-)
(The four babies in attendance got plush little farm animal puppets.)

Lucy had a GREAT time . . . and I think the only downer was Max being sick with the croup and having to spend the day with Nana instead of being at his own party! : /
Luckily, I don't think he knows or cares. : )~ 
(Next year could be a different story!)

I'm missing quite a few of the cute details from the party, but I have the HARDEST time remembering to take pictures of everything whilst in tine midst of a party!  I need to give someone else the job of taking pictures next time!
(Assuming there'll be a next time . . . someone just remind me to hire someone ELSE to do all the work next year - haha! : )~

Thanks for checking out our party!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My Miracle is ONE!

This boy.
The child I never thought I would get.
The child the doctors TOLD me not to expect.

He turns ONE today.
And now, a year after that amazing day he came into our lives, I can't remember what life was like without him.

He is a miracle from God and a blessing in so many ways.

Seems like just yesterday I was posting that picture on my Facebook page, letting all of our friends and family in on our HUGE surprise.  I remember still feeling numb with excitement and disbelief at that point.  
Less than a year before that, fertility doctors had determined that we most likely would never conceive a child naturally.  (Even though we already had one, which they couldn't explain.)
The overwhelming JOY I felt after finding out I was pregnant was indescribable.  
That joy quickly turned to fear after a few complications early on.  

But . . . our Miracle Max was meant to be.  
And he is one of the two best gift we've ever been given!
Lucy, meeting her baby brother for the first time!
The most perfect picture ever.
Max is the sweetest little guy there is, and the love and joy he has brought to our family in one short year is amazing.
He has completed our family PERFECTLY.  There's just no other way to say it!

The gratitude that I feel just looking at him is overwhelming.
I know every mother loves their children . . . but I think there is an extra-strong bond when you've had to fight for your children.
Although infertility was one of the worst things I ever had to deal with . . . it ended up being a blessing, in the end.
I love and treasure my babies so intensely, it's hard to put into words.
I fought for them.  I prayed for them.  I begged and pleaded for them.

And praise the Lord, I got them.
Miracles DO happen, ladies and gentleman.  

Today, my heart is overflowing with thankfulness for this little man.

Happy Birthday, Max!
I love you to infinity and beyond!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Craigslist for Christmas!

So, let me explain that a little bit.
No, I'm not buying all of my Christmas presents from Craigslist (although that's another option, I guess!: )~
But I AM using Craigslist to HELP me buy Christmas presents this year.

Last week, my fabulous cousin Leanne gave me a GREAT idea.  She has been selling stuff on Craigslist for the past several weeks in order to make some extra money for Christmas presents.  When she said she had already made over $800 . . . I was SOLD!
(Mind you, Leanne has a lot more kids -- and presumably, a lot more "stuff" than I do, but still . . . )

This is likely a little late for all of you overachievers who have had your Christmas shopping done for weeks now.  But I . . . (SHOCKER) am NOT one of those people.

Just kidding about the (SHOCKER) part.  
It's no shocker.  
These days, I feel like I'm a day late and a dollar short just about every time I turn around.

Anyway, my point is -- the way I roll, there's still at least two weeks until I need to start worrying about Christmas presents.

Also . . . do you need more junk in your house?  'Cause I don't need ANY more junk in MY house.  But the problem is -- Christmas has a way of bringing more "junk" (especially of the kid-variety).
So, why not GET RID OF some "junk" before buying more!?!

Enter:  Craigslist for Christmas!

Here's how you play . . .
1. Post one thing on Craigslist every day for two weeks. (Ideally, I would have started this a couple weeks ago and would try to post something every day for a month.  I figure this is my first year trying this, so two weeks is a good "test".)
2. Collect the cash in a designated spot (like my cute jar).
3. Use "Craigslist Cash" to buy this year's Christmas presents.
4.  Problem solved!  Out with the old, and in with the new!

So far, there is $75 in my jar.  (And I just started a few days ago!)

I can't be sure that I will make enough money to buy ALL of my Christmas presents, but certainly I WILL make enough to but the presents for those living in THIS house, at least.  :-)  And that's better than nothing, right!?

And next year . . . totally starting this earlier!
Such a great idea! :-)

**NOTE:  I know several gals who have a crap-ton of stuff laying around that they could (and SHOULD) be selling, but they are afraid of Craigslist.
I get it.
You never know what kind of lunatics are going to show up at your house . . . and IF they actually happen to BE lunatics, giving out your address, phone number, etc. can be a little unnerving.
Here's what I do:
I meet at a public place, where there's sure to be people around.  Like the gas station down the road . . . or the local grocery store parking lot.
I make sure I park near other people where I can clearly be seen (and heard).
On the few occasions where the items I'm selling are too big to put in the back of my SUV (like the couch!), I make sure I actually SPEAK to the buyer on the phone before giving my address.  I don't know about you, but I tend to get gut reactions quite easily when speaking to people - even on the phone.  You can usually tell fairly easily if people are nice and "normal" while speaking to them.  If you get an uncomfortable feeling when talking to them . . . give an excuse and end the phone call!  No big deal!
I have sold DOZENS of things on Craigslist . . . everything from furniture to electronics to LOADS of baby items.  I have NEVER . . . not even once . . . had a bad experience.
Quite the contrary.
I usually end up spending 10-15 minutes just chatting with these people in whatever parking lot we happened to meet in.  Several sweet couples who have come to our house to purchase baby items (crib, nursery rocker, etc.) have been people we wished we actually knew, because we (my husband and I) so enjoyed talking to them!  Scott even ended up cracking open a beer with one husband -- while the wife and I chatted for almost an hour about babies and teaching and several other things we had in common!

I know it's a little daunting, ladies . . . but it's worth it!  You can do it! :-)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Happy 5th Birthday, Lucy!

Five years ago on this day, the best part of my life began.
I became a mama.

If only I knew then what I know now . . . 
That I would love this little bundle of joy more than everything else combined -- times infinity . . . 
Then maybe I would have taken more time to enjoy every single second.  
Because now -- 157,680,000 seconds later -- I would give almost anything to go back in time to 6:20 a.m. on 10/27/08 and do it all over again.  


Deep breath.  

My little Lucy Lu (her middle name is not Lu, by the way -- it's Elaine) is my happy place.  
She is the happiest, most joyful, energetic, fun-loving, entertaining little girl I know . . . and I know a LOT of little girls.  
I know I'm her mama, and I have to say this sort of stuff . . . but the difference here is, it's TRUE.  
From the moment she arrived (in a BIG hurry), she has been nothing but a blessing.  
I cannot imagine my life without her, and there is nothing I am prouder to be than this child's mom.  
God may have made us wait an awfully long time for her . . . but she was SOOOOOO worth the wait.
And then some.  

I thought about taking a trip down memory lane and posting a photo from each year, but I just can't handle it.  

(At what point does one stop wanting to sob uncontrollably and/or hyperventilate and/or curl into the fetal position every year on their child's birthday....?  I'd really like some assurance that I will be able to HANDLE this some year.)

So . . . you get the five-year-old Lucy only today.  





And 100%, my favorite of things.  

I love you, Lucy . . . to the moon and back times infinity, and then some more.